Father appeals for help to solve son’s hit-and-run death
*Dad’s plea caps deadly year on city streets*
EVERY time Kevin Joss learns about another fatal collision in Winnipeg, the
immense pain of losing his son in a still-unsolved hit-andrun comes back to
The number of fatalities on city streets has tripled, with 28 people dying
in collisions this year, compared with nine in both 2021 and 2020.
Police figures show collisions killed 16 people in 2019 and 13 in 2018.
“This year, the amount of vehicle and pedestrian accidents or hit-and-runs
has just gone through the roof,” Joss said Thursday. “Every time someone
else loses their life or is critically injured or leaves the scene, it
sends such a ripple effect through to this family and to others that are
going through the same things that we have.”
Winnipeg Police Service central traffic division Const. Aaron Staples, the
lead investigator in the 2014 collision that killed 21-year-old Cody Joss,
said there is no specific trend behind the spike in fatalities this year.
Still, a number of incidents involved dangerous behaviour such as impaired
or distracted driving or speeding.
“(This year) was, unfortunately, a terrible year for road fatalities in
Winnipeg, and we’re looking to improve those statistics,” Staples said
during a news conference at police headquarters.
There were 41 collisions involving death or serious injury in Winnipeg, as
of Dec. 16, said police.
Of those, 19 involved pedestrians, with 12 of them dying.
There have been eight hit-and-runs. In five collisions, the driver was
impaired or suspected of being impaired, said police.
Standing next to a framed photo of his smiling son on Thursday, tears
welled in Joss’s eyes while he renewed his family’s appeal for information
to help solve Cody’s death.
“If you are the bearer of any clues or any knowledge of this accident, I
want you to take a look at your loved ones and realize it can happen to
you,” said Joss. “Everybody says it wouldn’t happen to me. I stand before
you and tell you it happened to us.
“If you are holding that info, whether you thought that it was minor, it
can all lead to a resolution for this case, some knowledge for our family
and for us to begin to heal. Please, folks, I beg of you.”
Cody was walking north on McGregor Street when he was hit by a vehicle
travelling west on Inkster Boulevard around 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2014.
The vehicle fled before police arrived. Cody was taken to Health Sciences
Centre, where he later died.
All investigative avenues have been exhausted, but his family and police
hope someone has information about the vehicle and its occupant or
occupants that could help investigators and bring closure to his loved ones.
Joss and Staples appealed to people who have a link to the person or people
who were in the vehicle, and may know something.
“Maybe your status, your social status changed, whereas you weren’t able
to talk about what transpired and now you can,” said Joss. “It’s not too
late. Any little bit of information that you have can really help us out.
We need to know what went on, and we need to start healing.”
Joss and police are holding on to hope someone who was driving in the area
around the time of the collision may still have dashcam video footage that
shows the vehicle.
Staples said police do not know the type of vehicle that was involved,
after receiving varying descriptions.
The investigation remains open, with police committed to bringing closure
to Cody’s family after an “incredibly difficult” eight years, said Staples.
“Unfortunately, to this point, no one has come forward with any video of
the event, and no one who has directly been a witness to the actual event,”
he said. “It is very rare that a collision like Cody’s goes unsolved, and
that’s why we are making such a continued ongoing effort and commitment to
the family to push forward on this one.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 204-986-7085 or Crime
Stoppers anonymously at 204-786-8477.
Every year around Christmas, Joss attends an event such as a news
conference or vigil to plead for information. He has become a road safety
“I’ve spoken in the past about how everybody has to make the right choices
when they leave and start their day, whether you’re a pedestrian and being
distracted walking across streets, whether you’re a distracted driver or
you’re just a little too fatigued,” he said. “Everything you do has a
ripple effect on everybody else.
“The thoughts of the next person that’s going to lose their life to an
accident that could have been prevented by making the right choice, it’s
enough to make us tear up.”
Staples said the traffic division’s strategy for 2023 includes targeted
enforcement of impaired and distracted driving, and speeding.
“We want to remind the public that the choices to drive impaired, drive
distracted speeding — they can all have lethal consequences, and those
simple choices you can make can truly be the difference between life and
death,” he said.
chris.kitching(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @chriskitching
Service honours 22-year-old cyclist killed by snowplow
City’s Indian community mobilizes for funeral of foreign student
JAVED MUSHARRAF was warned to be careful when riding his bicycle in the
winter, but the international student from India had two jobs and few
The 22-year-old, who came to Winnipeg from the city of Hyderabad about two
years ago, was struck and killed by a city-contracted front-end loader that
was plowing snow in St. Boniface last Thursday. He was riding home to
Balmoral Street and Cumberland Avenue on an electrically assisted bike.
“He had to drive a bike to get to work,” said one of his three roommates,
Mohsin Ahmed, 32.
Ahmed said Musharraf told him riding the bus to work was difficult, and the
devoutly Muslim young man did not have a Manitoba driver’s licence. Still,
he got to his jobs at Canadian Tire and FedEx, where he worked shifts early
in the day and late into the night.
“He was a very good person… He was very hard-working, and very truthful,”
“We’re going through a tough time… he was like my younger brother… I
personally feel very sad. It’s not acceptable (what happened.) He’s only
Musharraf moved to Winnipeg to study automotive technology at Red River
College Polytechnic, and had a bright future in his chosen field, having
built the electric bike he was riding that night himself.
Two off-duty Winnipeg police officers came upon the collision at about
10:20 p.m. on Dec. 15 near Mission and Plinguet streets. They gave
Musharraf first aid while two Winnipeg Transit employees stopped to
Musharraf was pronounced dead shortly after emergency personnel arrived.
The driver of the front-end loader stayed at the scene, police said.
Musharraf’s roommates did not know, at first, why he hadn’t come home.
“We didn’t hear (from him) for two days. He had passed a course, so we
thought he might be celebrating with his friends,” said Shakir Shaikh, 22.
“Normally he would go to work early and come back late at night, and we
were so busy… On the second day, we called him.”
Ahmed, who lived with Musharraf for about seven months, said he did not
have many friends in Winnipeg, “because most of the time he worked hard and
didn’t talk a lot.”
But the young man had no issues with anyone, he said. The victim had no
family in Winnipeg, and just an uncle and cousins in Calgary, while the
rest of his loved ones are in India.
The Community of Indian Muslims in Manitoba sprung into action after
learning about the man’s death, said Irfanulla Rahamathulla, the
“We contacted the police and contacted the uncle (in Calgary), and we tried
to arrange the funeral,” said Rahamathulla.
“They were supposed to come, his family members, but flights got cancelled
one after the other from Calgary, due to the snowstorm in Vancouver.”
Rahamathulla said the community had arranged accommodations, food and
transportation for the seven family members who planned to travel here to
attend Musharraf’s funeral Wednesday, but because of the cancelled flights
and unsafe winter driving conditions from Alberta, only Musharraf’s
roommates and some members of the wider Winnipeg Muslim community were able
to be at the service.
Most of the mourners at the Winnipeg Grand Mosque on Waverley Street
Wednesday afternoon did not know the young man whose funeral they were
“As a brother in Islam, we feel connected with everyone, to show
compassion,” said Rahamathulla.
Community members such as Atif Ijaz, 53, did not know the young student.
“It’s very unfortunate, especially for the family, who are so far away and
they cannot reach his funeral — it’s really heartbreaking,” said Ijaz, who
is originally from Pakistan.
“He was a student, and like so many other students, he was here to get
educated, to get into the Canadian education system, and then enter
professional life... It’s very unfortunate.”
Bashshar Habibullah, 32, did not know Musharraf, either.
“We have very few members of the Indian Muslim community — like 150
(people),” he said. “We are trying to help as much as we can… the worst
part is none of his family can see him.”
In the mosque, Imam Yacine Mamadou led about 100 people in prayer over
Musharraf’s simple wooden casket, telling mourners to take life seriously
and to do good deeds.
As the mourners wheeled Musharraf’s casket from the mosque to a hearse that
would take him to a Transcona cemetery, community members video-called his
family so they could witness the procession.
Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon said Wednesday the
investigation into the collision is ongoing. No criminal or Highway Traffic
Act charges have been laid.
“We have confirmed that an independent contractor for the (city) owns the
front-end loader,” McKinnon said.
Public works department spokeswoman Julie Dooley would not comment
specifically on the incident, directing questions to police, but said in
general, the city investigates all incidents on job sites, working closely
with both police and provincial Workplace Safety and Health officials.
“In terms of training, both city employees and hired equipment operators
are required to undergo training that covers safety, policies and service
standards and other topics,” she said.
“City of Winnipeg operators receive extensive and ongoing safety training.
Hired hourly operators are contractually obligated to provide workers who
are trained and qualified for their respective equipment.”
erik.pindera(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @erik_pindera
There's only one thing keeping people from biking uninterrupted from the
Assiniboine Forest to Beaudry Provincial Park - the perimeter highway. But
two trail organizations are looking to change that by building a pedestrian
crossing. Guest host Marjorie Dowhos spoke with Phil Jenkinson and Liz
Loewen about the plan:
*A chance to reimagine road safety *
DRIVERS have killed 11 pedestrians on Winnipeg streets in 2022. The
language of that sentence might sound jarring, because we rarely humanize a
driver’s role in vehicle collisions. We more commonly use object-based
language that describes a vehicle doing something rather than a driver: a
car jumped the curb and hit a pedestrian.
This ambiguity is uniquely reserved for those operating motor vehicles, as
we would never say a bike injured a pedestrian. We would say a cyclist did.
This forgiving language reveals a deeply ingrained bias in how we perceive
road users, and is a natural extension of the cultural dominance vehicles
have in our urban mobility. City streets are viewed primarily as conduits
for vehicles, with pedestrians and cyclists considered guests on streets
made for cars.
This public bias pushes planners, engineers and politicians to prioritize
vehicle speed over pedestrian safety in street design. There’s a sense of
inevitability to this year’s record number of pedestrian fatalities that
mutes public reaction, almost as if it’s a price that must be paid.
On average in Winnipeg, every second day a pedestrian or cyclist is injured
in a vehicle collision seriously enough to file a police report. Every
third day a pedestrian or cyclist is sent to hospital. Public response to
these staggering statistics often seeks blame, asking if the pedestrian was
on their phone, or if the cyclist rolled through a stop sign, believing
that if we can identify personal fault, we will not be forced to
re-evaluate our car-first priorities.
To the family of a person killed in a vehicle collision, it doesn’t matter
who is to blame. The question we should be asking is how do we ensure that
when a mistake is made, no matter who makes it, someone doesn’t pay for it
with their life?
Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are not inevitable, but the solution
requires a cultural shift in the way planners, policy-makers and the public
think about streets and how we use them. If we are going to blame anyone
for collision deaths, our collective fingers should point directly at the
streets we have designed to encourage them.
This is where we must start looking for solutions. Cyclists and pedestrians
are not protected by air bags and 1,000 kilograms of steel. The only way to
provide protection to vulnerable road users is to build it into the streets
To do this, many cities have adopted Vision Zero, a global urban-road
safety initiative that promotes physical changes to street design, reduced
speed limits, data tracking, enforcement and education. The Vision Zero
strategy has allowed Helsinki, Finland, and Oslo, Norway, to bring
pedestrian and cyclist fatalities down from more than 20 annually in the
1990s to zero in 2019.
Edmonton became the first Canadian city to adopt Vision Zero in 2015 and
has seen all vehicle fatalities decrease by 50 per cent, and pedestrian
fatalities by nearly 30 per cent.
Last summer, city council adopted the Winnipeg Road Safety Strategic Action
Plan, an inspired document, based on Vision Zero principles, that outlines
comprehensive strategies to change the culture of road safety in our city.
The plan includes two striking maps that identify locations of pedestrian
and cycling injury-collisions across the city, painting a clear picture of
Winnipeg’s road safety.
Not surprisingly, they reveal that collisions occur most where higher
volumes of pedestrians are on streets designed to prioritize vehicle speeds.
Downtown Winnipeg, with its wide, one-way streets and narrow sidewalks
designed to funnel commuters out of the city centre as quickly as possible,
is the most glaring example. High numbers of collisions are also found
across the city on what were once commercial neighbourhood streets but have
over time been transformed into pseudo commuter highways such McPhillips,
Main and Marion streets. When Kelvin Street became Henderson Highway in
1963, it received the name “highway” to clearly indicate where its new
Osborne Street is another stark example of this condition. Perceived as a
pedestrian shopping street, its primary design function is to funnel
vehicles through Osborne Village to the suburbs. To increase traffic flow,
trees were removed, sidewalks were narrowed and car lanes widened.
All of this makes pedestrian safety a decided afterthought. We often refer
to collisions as “accidents,” but it’s not an accident that so many
pedestrians are hit on streets such as Osborne. The way we’ve designed them
makes it inevitable.
The Winnipeg Road Safety Strategic Action Plan identifies 67 actions to
change this. These include installing traffic-calming elements such as
speed humps, raised crosswalks and street narrowing; policy reviews of
speed limits, oneway streets and right turns on red lights; and
construction of protective elements including bike lanes, improved signals
and curb extensions at intersections.
The action plan is thorough and transformational, but to be successful it
must be funded and supported by government.
Edmonton successfully reduced traffic fatalities by directing more than $20
million per year of red-light camera revenue toward its strategic plan. It
also recently committed $100 million to building protected bike lanes that
will transform the city’s mobility.
If Winnipeg wants to be just as serious about saving lives and building a
culture of road safety, the evidence will not be found in another policy
paper. It will be found in the budgets that support it.
*Brent Bellamy is creative director at Number TEN Architectural Group.*
Transit trouble frustrates bus riders
ERIN Riediger’s Winnipeg Transit tracking app told her the bus she was
waiting for Dec. 9 was four minutes away. When the countdown reached zero,
the estimated wait time jumped back up to four minutes.
She kept checking, and waiting in the cold. About 20 minutes past the
original arrival time, the bus scheduled for the Wellington Avenue stop
vanished from the list entirely.
“It didn’t say, ‘cancelled,’ it didn’t say, ‘unavailable,’ it just
disappeared from the schedule,” Riediger said. “And then when I was walking
to try to catch another bus, I ran into other people along the route,
basically, that were waiting for the same bus, and I even said to a few of
them: ‘Just so you know, it’s not coming.’” It’s a frustrating occurrence
Winnipeggers know all too well.
When Riediger shared her experience via social media, her replies were
filled with people who, too, had waited for a scheduled bus that never
Riediger uses the Winnipeg Bus Live app, which she said is usually
accurate. She noted while she had the ability to walk to another bus stop,
not everyone has that privilege.
“For transit to be effective, you have to be able to trip plan, and you
have to be able to have the reliability of transit so that you can show up
to work on time,” she said. “So if you’re going to work in bad weather, you
don’t have to wait. If you have mobility issues, you’re not trying to get
yourself to another bus stop.”
Schedules misaligned to actual vehicles on the road can be caused if a bus
has a mechanical issue and is taken out of service — there can be a lag in
between the bus being removed and it showing up on the Transit schedules —
or as a result of staff shortages, a City of Winnipeg spokesperson said.
Those staff shortages result in some buses never making it onto assigned
routes, causing cancellations. As with a mechanical issue, sometimes there
is a lag between the bus being cancelled and it showing up on riders’
“We, like many public transportation providers across North America, are
experiencing staff shortages that, combined with an increase in operator
absenteeism, have resulted in us designating a small number of buses as
DNOs (did not operate),” the spokesperson said in an email.
“While we never want to see DNOs, what we are experiencing currently is
intermittent and is limited to the peak periods (rush hours).”
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 president Romeo Ignacio said the
reduction in transit service over the COVID-19 pandemic (which resulted in
temporary layoffs, less frequent service and fewer buses on the road) made
an impact that remains today.
“The schedules that the city has provided were actually based on the last
two years. And you know what the last two years was, right? There was no
traffic, there were no people taking the buses,” said the leader of the
union representing Transit bus operators.
“And they cut the service, they cut the schedules. Not only that, they
actually cut the service by six per cent, they actually cut the times. And
that has an impact on whether the bus will show up on time or even show up
The issue snowballs, Ignacio said, when you consider buses often take
routes known as “interlining” — when a bus does one route for its first
trip, then a different route for its second trip. This means if a bus is
running late after completing a route, it can often get its next route
cancelled entirely to keep it on schedule.
“There’s actually a joke out there that ‘not in service’ is the most common
bus (route) that the city has… It cascades.”
Before the current shortage, the city would have drivers on standby to fill
in for emergencies. Now, Ignacio said around 50 driver positions out of
1,100 remain unfilled.
To have a fully-operational bus service, he said Transit would need 100
more operators. It’s a cyclical struggle — while 200 drivers have been
trained in the last three years, 330 have resigned or retired, Ignacio said.
“It takes time for an operator to develop that experience, where they can
come in on time all the time, but with the cuts in the service, with the
cuts in the schedules, with more traffic out there than the schedules will
permit, and the lack of support… Because of all that missing, we’re having
a tough time retaining even the (drivers) that we have right now.”
Cyclist dies after collision with front-end loader
A CYCLIST was killed after colliding with a front-end loader in an
industrial area near St. Boniface Thursday night.
The man was riding his bike near the intersection of Mission and Plinguet
streets when the incident happened around 10:20 p.m.
Off-duty officers who were in the area tried to save him by giving him
The man was pronounced dead when emergency services arrived. Police said
the driver of the front-end loader remained on the scene.
The identity of the cyclist hasn’t been confirmed, and no charges have been
laid against the driver of the front-end loader, Const. Jay Murray said
“Typically, these types of investigations are very extensive, and require a
lot of work before we ultimately determine the circumstances that led up to
the collision,” he said.
Murray said it’s rare for a front-end loader to be involved in such an
“Anecdotally speaking, it doesn’t seem to be a common thing,” he said. “The
reality is that there’s quite a bit of front-end loader work that occurs
across the city in the winter months, we live in a city where there’s often
quite a bit of snow. It doesn’t seem to be something that happens commonly.”
Bike Winnipeg executive director Mark Cohoe said the tragedy underscores
the need to address cycling infrastructure.
“These deaths, and these serious injuries, I think we really have to
recognize that these are preventable circumstances, they are preventable
events,” he said.
It’s time, Cohoe said, for the city to consider a “vision zero” policy — a
strategy adopted in cities across the world that looks at city planning and
road safety with the goal of reaching zero traffic-related deaths and
severe injuries, rather than viewing collisions as inevitable.
“When we have these serious collisions, especially fatalities, are we doing
an audit to look at what were the circumstances that led to this and asking
ourselves, are there sort of links in that chain of events and
circumstances that we can alter so that this doesn’t happen again?” he said.
There is no bike path or sidewalk on the section of road where Thursday’s
City planning should ensure people who cycle outside high-traffic areas are
safe in winter, Cohoe said.
While he hopes this tragedy will inspire those conversations at the
municipal level, Cohoe said he isn’t confident.
“Obviously, the police will investigate. I would hope that that will be
shared. MPI will look at this. But to what level does it come back to that
system of looking at our roads, our programming, our public education, our
maintenance and looking at how we’re training the staff that clean the
streets?” he said. “Am I confident that it will be filtered back up through
that change? No.”
At the Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub, the organizers who create
community bike programs are well-prepared for winter cycling.
While the group could make safety recommendations, executive director Lucas
Stewart said nothing can replace safer infrastructure.
“We recommend a studded front tire to help with steering and having a bike
that you don’t mind getting a little rusty, because salt is applied to the
streets,” he said. “The limiting factor really is having a safe place to
ride either with or without cars, and the quality of the snow clearing.”
Along with infrastructure changes, Stewart said he’d like to see urban
cycling implemented into elementary school education.
“My daughter’s four. I have a dream that when she’s 13, she can get herself
to soccer practice by bike,” he said. “That’s not the case at the moment.”
Citizen shovellers want clear paths, better city response
FOR some who recently watched the city threaten to fine Winnipeggers who
took clearing snow from bike lanes into their own hands, it feels like
history repeating itself. When the water rose and froze over the Omand’s
Creek footbridge in 2019, Chris Beauvilain and others felt they were forced
to clear the snow- and ice-covered bridge themselves. The city had blocked
off the pedestrian link and said it wouldn’t be clearing it until spring,
despite repeated requests for service from Wolseley community members.
“The city had made a choice at that time… which we thought was
unacceptable, given that’s our toboggan park, my kids used that trail to
get to their grandparents’ house,” Beauvilain said Thursday. “And so we
went and did it.”
At the time, the public works department said the job was too dangerous to
complete, due to thick ice blocking off machine access.
After Beauvilain and Brad Hignell spent hours chipping the ice off the
bridge with hand tools on a December Saturday, the city eventually plowed
the entire trail leading up to the bridge on either side.
It didn’t come with a thank you, however — rather, the city said through a
spokesperson the pair’s efforts “did not mitigate the public safety risk”
and the unsanctioned cleaning, luckily, hadn’t affected the bridge’s
The idea of fining the shovellers was brought up but eventually discarded;
internal emails obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation through a
freedom of information request and shared with the Free Press described
their work as “reckless.”
“It was a pretty frustrating experience to do that, and then be threatened
with fines,” Beauvilain said, adding people were fed up with slow-moving
response to snow-clearing. “And I just felt like the city was being kind of
a bully and aggressive, and I didn’t really understand it.”
Beauvilain said he feels “inspired” by residents who have been clearing icy
paths across the city in recent weeks after complaints to the city’s 311
service reportedly went unanswered.
Last month, a group took matters into their own hands and dug ice and snow
from a bike lane on Westminster Avenue. They were given a warning of
possible bylaw fines. Undeterred, they later cleared a lane in the Exchange
A City of Winnipeg spokesperson clarified it had no plans to fine anyone.
Beauvilain said he was a little surprised the city was quick once again to
jump to threatening fines before backing down.
“It seems so ridiculous, but it is not uncommon for me to see these kinds
of situations happen and the response is typically quite defensive and
aggressive,” he said. “I’ll give credit to the city this time, the
spokesperson was very clear… but then also kind of surprised that we’re
still dealing with the same issues as a winter city.”
Hillary Rosentreter, who has been organizing groups to clear ice and snow
from lanes, didn’t live in Winnipeg in 2019, and hadn’t heard about the
Omand’s Creek incident until recently.
“I’m not surprised… I’m certain that this has been a longer-standing
problem than any of us could imagine,” she said.
Like Beauvilain, she acknowledges the city has been making efforts to
streamline its snow-clearing processes, but said until it moves faster,
people will continue to be inclined to take the work upon themselves.
“I’m not necessarily concerned about them learning from their mistakes.
More so I’m more concerned about… the amount of time it takes before
policies are changed, the amount of time it takes before 311 gets to a
trouble spot, that kind of thing,” Rosentreter said.
A motion from Coun. Matt Allard to update bylaws to remove the possibility
of receiving a fine for clearing snow off of public sidewalks and bike
paths was met with interest at city hall last week.
‘Not one easy solution’ amid deadly year on Winnipeg roads
The heightened death toll on Winnipeg roads this year is “bleak” and
“awful,” an active transportation advocate says.
Katheryn Loewen, senior sustainable transportation co-ordinator at the
Green Action Centre and a Bike Winnipeg board member, said most pedestrian
deaths are preventable, despite often being written off as accidents.
“Where the blame lies, it depends on the situation, but where the
responsibility lays, it’s usually pretty clear it’s either in road design
of the city and the manufacturers of cars,” Loewen said Wednesday.
“One person involved is wielding a heavy machine that is capable of
instantly killing someone if they’re not careful, and the other person, the
pedestrian, is not… The responsibility is imbalanced.”
Manufacturers are building autos larger than in previous generations,
worsening injuries when collisions happen, Loewen said. Cities could
increase the number of crosswalks and improve pedestrian infrastructure —
with sidewalks farther and protected from roads — to reduce risks, she
“It’s a big issue and there’s not one easy solution, but road design is
definitely a big factor,” Loewen said.
“People should be able to get around on foot and on bike and on scooter and
wheelchairs and not be worried about (collisions) like this happening to
Eleven pedestrians had been killed in Winnipeg so far this year, compared
to six in all of 2021, police data show. An additional six pedestrians have
been seriously injured after bring struck by vehicles.
Most recently, a pedestrian was killed Dec. 3 on the southbound Century
Street entrance to the St. James Bridge in a two-vehicle collision.
In total, at least 21 people, including vehicle occupants, have been killed
in road collisions this year, compared to nine in 2021.
Three pedestrians were killed in hit-and-runs in less than a week in
October, while another hit-and-run claimed the life of an 81-year-old
vehicle occupant in the same time frame.
In 2021, two people were charged for failing to remain at the scene of a
collision in which a pedestrian was killed. Three face such charges so far
this year, according to the latest police data available.
The Winnipeg Police Service would not provide any updates Wednesday on the
four fatal October hit-and-run investigations.
A request first made Tuesday to speak with the head of the police traffic
division in general terms about collision investigations was denied
Wednesday, with a spokeswoman saying the inspector was not available “at
A former city police officer — who retired in 1991 and now runs a firm
focused on helping drivers fight traffic tickets — said collision
investigations can be difficult.
“Hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident — that’s always a tricky
investigation,” said Len Eastoe of Traffic Ticket Experts.
Eyewitness accounts, licence plate numbers and dash, business and home
surveillance video footage are among the crucial evidence that needs to be
collected, he said.
Police have made public pleas for such footage to be brought forward to
investigators in the spate of October hit-and-runs.
Pieces of vehicles left at the scene too are key, Eastoe said, because the
wreckage can be sometimes tracked to a specific type of vehicle.
“Sometimes, they then have the colour or make and model even of the vehicle
they’re looking for.”
Police have past said traffic investigators use, among other tools, a
scanner to create 3D images of collision scenes in reconstructions.
Eastoe said recovering vehicles involved in collisions is “huge” for police.
“It gives you all sorts of other possibilities. Who’s the registered owner?
It gives you a person to talk to in that regard. Sometimes, the vehicles
are stolen and just haven’t been reported that way yet, and that may be
legitimate. It may also be bogus that it’s been reported stolen,” said the
former cop who worked in uniformed patrol and plainclothes.
“If they can’t say it was stolen or you can prove it wasn’t, then the owner
can be held responsible.”
Eliminate risk of penalties for citizens clearing snow: Allard
Councillor seeks to dump threat of shovelling fines
CALLS to eliminate potential fines for citizens who opt to shovel snow off
Winnipeg public sidewalks and bike paths are gaining traction at city hall.
Coun. Matt Allard wants council to update bylaws to permanently eliminate
the risk of a financial penalty for such volunteers.
“I’m saying residents should not have to fear a fine (for) being good
citizens by doing the snow-clearing work that the city should be doing,
according to our snow-clearing bylaw, which the public service has
acknowledged they don’t have the resources to do,” Allard said Wednesday.
The city didn’t meet its own standards last winter, according to a recent
civic staff report.
That policy requires sidewalks adjacent to major routes and collector
streets to be cleared within 36 hours after an “average” storm ends, with
residential street sidewalks cleared within five working days after plowing
starts. While last winter’s especially harsh, stormy conditions certainly
hampered snow and ice control, many residents have complained winter
sidewalks have been impassable far too often for several years.
Allard said he believes residents can manage any risk in clearing such
routes for themselves. “For people trying to get around on their bicycles
(who are) being caught in the snow, I think that’s more of a safety issue
than people taking out some shovels and clearing that active transportation
While city officials have assured the public they don’t intend to levy such
fines, Allard said a bylaw update is needed to completely rule out the risk
of that happening in the future.
Hillary Rosentreter, who has organized multiple do-it-yourself
snow-clearing efforts on bike lanes and sidewalks over the past few weeks,
said the risk of a fine should be clearly eliminated.
“Those who go out and put the effort in to clear sidewalks near their homes
or in their communities should not be threatened with a fine or have to
face any kind of repercussions for doing so — especially from the city,
when the city is obviously not keeping up with that responsibility,” said
The city must do more, however, than simply ruling out punishment for folks
who volunteer to clear paths for bikes and pedestrians, she added.
“The reason why we’ve been out there and why we continue to be out there
(clearing snow) is because the clearing is inadequate… Ultimately, we want
the policy of snow-clearing to change. We want more money to go into
clearing of sidewalks and bike lanes because (snow-clearing)
disproportionately focuses on vehicles.”
Allard’s motion appears to be gaining some traction with his city council
Mayor Scott Gillingham said he believes there’s a “common sense” need to
ensure no one is fined for shovelling a sidewalk. However, he said council
needs further debate to determine how to proceed on bike paths.
“Some areas for bike lanes are a shared lane on a road (with vehicles).
There (are) different safety concerns… related to bike lanes, as opposed to
a sidewalk,” said Gillingham.
Council’s public works chairwoman said she was surprised to confirm fines
were possible for clearing a sidewalk. “Common sense needs to prevail,
because I think it’s ridiculous… I’m going to be working with the
department on this one,” said Coun. Janice Lukes.
However, Lukes said she fears making it easier for residents to clear bike
lanes on their own could pose a significant safety risk. “It isn’t safe to
really have people (shovelling) on the road in the winter with moving
Overall, the councillor said the key focus must be to improve the city
efforts to clear ice and snow from sidewalks and bike paths.
“The bottom line is I think we need to be looking at doing much better,”